Manu Bennett is perhaps most well known for his portrayal of Crixus in the Spartacus series, where he was the only actor to star in all seasons.
In addition he has had many other acclaimed roles such as Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit movies, Slade Wilson a.k.a Deathstroke in DC’s Green Arrow, and a multitude of other roles in such series as Xena: Warrior Princess, The Shannara Chronicles, Water rats, , and many more.
Bennett is of Maori and Irish descent and decided to quit his rugby career to study drama and dance, because of his strong interests in modern dancing, classical ballet, and piano. He attended the Lee Stasberg Theatre institute on scholarship before starting his acting career in 1993 with a role in Paradise Beach.
Manu Bennett considers himself a friend of Iceland, having visited us many times before, and we are extremely pleased he will be joining us for the convention where we hope we will become a friend of Midgard as well!
In 1999, Bennett landed his first leading role in a feature film named Tomoko, shot on location in Tokyo, starring opposite Rumiko Koyanagi. In 2000, Bennett guest starred in Xena: Warrior Princess as Marc Antony.
Manu then returned to New Zealand to star in Shortland Street, Street Legal, Mataku, Creature Quest and Going Straight. Later in 2006, Bennett was cast in The Marine with wrestling star John Cena and Robert Patrick. He was also cast opposite to Josh Hartnett as Deputy Billy Kitka in 30 Days of Night.
Manu was cast in the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand in the role of Crixus. He was the longest standing cast member of the TV show.
In 2012, he played the villain Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and continued to portray the character in the sequels.
In November 2012, Bennett was cast in the first season of Arrow as Slade Wilson, and in March 2013, he was promoted to series regular for the second season He then made several guest appearances in subsequent seasons.
Manu was cast as the druid Allanon in MTV’s television series adaptation of Terry Brooks’ fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles.